Saying “Yes” to the Sabbath

The Fellowship  |  December 28, 2017

Mother of a family lighting Sabbath candles.
Saying "Yes" to the Sabbath

Yonit Rothchild, one of our Fellowship writers in Israel, reflects on the beauty and peace she finds – and that we might all find – in observing the Sabbath.

Growing up, the Sabbath (Shabbat in Hebrew) seemed like a series of “nos” — no shopping, no TV, no movies, no lights. For my children, I tried to create some “yeses” that we only did on Shabbat to counterbalance that.

The Bible gives many reasons why we don’t do certain things on Shabbat, but one in particular resonates with our generation. In Deuteronomy 5:15, we are told to observe the Sabbath to remember that we were once slaves, but God set us free.

In some ways, we are a generation who have again become slaves – to our phones, to our work, to doing things. Yet, at sundown each Friday, the Bible directs the Jewish people to stop.

In our fast-paced society, it is so nice to slow down, to not go anywhere, to not “accomplish” anything. It restores our humanity.

Where I live in Israel, nearly the entire city observes the Sabbath. Imagine how peaceful it can be when there is barely any traffic and the only sounds you hear outside are children laughing and playing.

Perhaps it is time to reclaim this ancient tradition, each in our own way – as there has never been a generation more in need of the Sabbath than our own.

– Yonit Rothchild